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17 Incredible Underground Bars In Berlin

Escape the tourists in bars that even the locals have difficulty finding.

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1. Beckett's Kopf

becketts-kopf.de

Hidden in Prenzlauer Berg, this infamous Berlin bar is marked only by a portrait of Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett in the window – and you'll need to ring the doorbell before they let you in. Inside you'll find two sumptuous rooms (one, blessedly, for non-smokers), terribly naughty pictures on the walls, and cocktail menus hidden inside books. While the menu is a great one, it's worth going off piste to ask for a bespoke cocktail to taste. It's something they do very, very well.

2. Le Croco Bleu

Martin Tervoort / Via lecrocobleu.com

The brainchild of Berlin bar maestro, Gregor Scholl, you'll find Le Croco Bleu in the engine room of Prenzlauer Berg's old Bötzow Brewery. Legend has it that during World War II the basement played home to two crocodiles from the Berlin Zoo, giving the bar its name. The interior is as beautiful as the cocktails, with ethereal blue lighting and vibrant green leather sitting alongside the original machinery.

3. Prinzipal Kreuzberg

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Nipple tassels, revelry and stonkingly good cocktails... what more could you want? A little slice of 20s burlesque in Berlin, Kreuzberg describes itself as a 'rabbit hole' – one leading to a far more adult Wonderland – and embodies the Weimar speakeasy aesthetic made so famous by Cabaret.

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4. G&T Bar

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Don't be put off by this bar's touristy location in Friedrichstrasse. Hidden in the backyard of a building, it's suitably out of the way to avoid the rabble. AND it's also stocked with over 100 gin brands. So skip the vodka and head over to chat all things gin with the bartender, while sipping on the bar's namesake. Because everyone knows the best vodka is the juniper-flavoured kind.

5. Bar Immertreu

Facebook / Via Facebook: Bar-Immertreu

The bar sign reads, "Serious drink'n. No Wifi. Cash Only", and that's really all you need to know. A few minutes walk from Beckett's Kopf, the drinks are all classics or variations on the classics – such as the Black Walnut Manhattan or Insomnia cocktail of saffron gin and peach bitters. These guys are so dedicated to 'serious drink'n', they'll even bring out freshly iced glasses should your Martini or Last Word look to be losing its chill.

6. Stagger Lee

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Technically, this bar isn't THAT hidden. But it IS one of Berlin's best kept secrets, thanks to a low-key, speakeasy attitude. Decked out like a 1920's saloon, there are low-hanging lights, an incredible ornate cash register and staff in full Prohibition-era swing. Despite the lack of hype, there's so many reasons to visit. The killer bourbon selection being just one of them.

7. Jigger Beaker & Glass

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Opened in March this year, this is the most exciting new bar in Friedrichstain. The name comes from a cocktail book by Charles H. Baker Jr., written during Prohibition time. Run by Tony Galea, the winner of last year's 'Newcomer of the Year' Mixology Bar award, and Yannick Marty (formerly of Stagger Lee), the cocktails live up to reputation, with a mix of delicious mad scientist-esque concoctions (they have bacon-infused gin. BACON. INFUSED. GIN).

8. Bar Tausend

tausendberlin.com

"Come in style" to Tausend if you want to get in. Hidden under a railway bridge in Friedrichstrasse, would-be-drinkers have to source the unmarked entrance (an old iron door), buzz for the "landlord" and wait for him to assess whether you pass muster through the old school eye-opening. It's worth the rigamarole though. The interiors are breathtaking, the guests stylish and the drinks strong. And if you get peckish, there's even a restaurant located in back.

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9. Fairytale

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Do you have a thing for 1. Brothers Grimm. 2. Alice In Wonderland. 3. Either of the above? Fairytale bar is for you. To find it, head to Volkspark's 'Fountain of Fairytales' – the bar is on the street opposite at No. 24. The interiors are a mash up of Wonderland and Grimm, but it's the cocktails you need to go for. All based around different fairytales, they range from absinthe-scented "Snow White and Rose Red" Old Fashioneds, to "Cinderellas" served in Louboutin glass slippers.

10. Trust Bar

trustbar.trust-berlin.com

Get past the doorman and descend into this seriously hip nightspot. Despite the tiny space, Trust turns more club than bar as the evening wears on, magically filling with live music and Berlin's cool young things. Vodka and gin are sold in Trust-branded bottles – club together with friends (or make new ones there) to buy a big one and spend the night drinking it neat or with tonic.

11. Rum Trader

Jochen Hirschfeld / Via vanhagen.de

Founded in the 1970s, and now run by the infamous Gregor Scholl, Rum Trader has been home to Berlin's serious drinkers for a very long time. The space is limited (no more than 25), the history rich (you'll find a reference to the bar in Ian Fleming's Octopussy) and there's no menu. Instead, Mr Scholl himself will ask you which spirit you fancy and what flavours you're feeling, before crafting you one of the best cocktails you'll ever have the pleasure of drinking.

12. Buck & Breck

Lambros Goulemtsas / Via Facebook: Buck-and-Breck

You'll only squeeze 14 people into Buck & Breck. Which may be why there's a sign above the door permanently saying "Closed". Ignore it and ring the doorbell, and you'll be in for a treat – a gorgeously lit room with just enough space for a bar, and cocktails that range from the classic (the violet-scented Aviation is a beauty) to the innovative. Careful though – these guys take their speakeasy rep seriously, so if you want to take a photo, be discreet.

13. Fahimi

fahimibar.de

Housed in a former barracks, this bar skips Berlin's grungy, laid-back aesthetic for a more glamorous approach. The cocktails are simple and classic, and the interiors are polished. To find it, go to 133 Skalitzer Strasse (also home to the cult, equally well-hidden West Germany club), and take the stairs to the first floor.

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14. Schwarze Traube

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Owner of both a magnificent beard and a magnificent bar, Atalay Aktasinner won the ultra-competitive title of Germany's Best Mixologist in 2013. Knock on the door, peek in and you'll discover just how well deserved the award is. Like Rum Trader, there's no menu, just a hugely imaginative staff of bartenders who'll knock together something incredible from a range of infused-liquors and spirits.

15. Lost In Grub Street

Petra Kellner / Via Facebook: lostingrubstreet

One of the first serious bars to arrive in Hausvogteiplatz, an area otherwise missed by Berlin's mixology-wave. Don't try to find it on Grub Street either. It's on Jägerstrasse, the name a reference to an 1830s London street where writers and artists could share a bowl of punch together – exactly what you can do here, now that the owners (the founders of Beckett's Kopf) have revived this forgotten method of drinking.

16. Reingold Bar

cms.reingold.de

An updated speakeasy, Reingold bar may be hidden, but there's no shabby chic to be found inside. You'll find this lavishly-decorated bar in Mitte, and can enter by buzzing on the doorbell. Balancing a blend of old and new, the cocktails are on point and the prices not too debilitating.

17. The Bar Marqués

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Hidden beneath a Spanish tapas restaurant in Gräfestrasse, there's no signage for the Bar Marqués. Instead find the restaurant, and ask someone to point you towards the steps descending into this New York-style speakeasy done with proper European flavour. You won't find a menu either, but you will find a lot of proper spirits (mainly gin. There's a LOT of gin) and enthusiastic bartenders who'll whip something up to taste.

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